Are Real Gamers Smartphone Gamers?

If you're reading this article's title and saying to yourself, "No," then it's about time you're growing up. Modern society has many conflicts, infighting, and inequality. There's no need for game subculture.
To settle the argument quickly, we can simply refer to the dictionary definition of what a “gamer” is. Both the Merriam-Webster and Cambridge dictionaries (and others, for the matter) generally define a gamer as “someone who plays games.” Let’s use this as an example:
  • Juan plays Call of Duty: Warzone on his PHP70,000 gaming PC. Call of Duty: Warzone is a video game. Juan is a gamer.
  • Maria plays Adorable Home on her PHP10,000 smartphone. Adorable Home is a video game. Maria is also a gamer.
But of course, it’s not that simple. In any faction that contains a group of people who are intensely passionate at the given activity, gatekeeping is a common issue. In the world of gaming, the ones who partake in gatekeeping are typically those who discourage others from referring to themselves as gamers if they haven’t reached a certain level or don’t quality for a certain standard.
These types of people will take offense at someone who calls themselves a gamer, but only plays games on an implied inferior platform (i.e. mobile). They may also target those who only play casually and don’t have hundreds or even thousands of hours logged. And in some cases, it can be as petty as criticizing someone’s game or genre of choice as not hardcore enough.
So despite the fact that Juan and Maria from the earlier examples are both gamers by definition, there will still be some adult-children who will not consider Maria as a real gamer. What the *bleep* is a real gamer anyway?

“Hardcore” Gaming

According to that argument, perhaps a real gamer is a hardcore gamer — someone who takes games seriously. Different people, though, consider different things to be hardcore games.

According to a Quantic Foundry survey report, people tend to take games seriously as involving rivalry and challenge. This can be correlated with genres such as first-person shooters and competitive multiplayer games that seek to climb the ladder and beat the rivals.

Though, according to the same study, women tend to consider design and completion as the cornerstones of serious gaming. Think of games like The Sims and Animal Crossing that involve heavy customization and unlockable items.

Again, different genders — different people have different motivations for playing high-level games. So no motivation is wrong. Individuals play games for their own reasons, so one isn't stronger than the other.

It's no secret that gatekeepers in the gaming world are more likely to be male. If that's the case, this brings the gatekeeping argument "this is what a skilled gamer does" into deep waters. Misogyny reached waters. Yikes. Yikes.

Money/Time Investment

Another widely used gatekeeping point is that some players aren't seen as true gamers merely because they haven't spent about the same amount of money and time into operation.

That's ridiculous. Why does anyone need to spend a certain amount of time as a gamer? Here's an every example. Just because the average joe who plays guitar once a week at church doesn't have John Mayer's ability, gear, and accolades, doesn't mean they're not a guitarist.

Hopefully, back to a gamer's dictionary definition— anyone playing games. No preferences, no time constraints, no gatekeeping.

Someone who plays just a few Mobile Legends matches: Bang Bang on their mobile during morning commutes is just as much a competitor as someone who invests tens of thousands of pesos logging hundreds of hours on a serious Mac.

Platform of Choice

Let's get back to this article's title. At this point, almost all debunks the contention that mobile gamers aren't "real gamers." The platform does not dictate anyone's eligibility to be called a gamer, nor should it discourage anyone from referring as such.

But let's make specific case for mobile platform. It's definitely the number one gaming site. To both customers and developers, market entry is easy. Even smartphones in the PHP5,000-PHP10,000 range can play most, if not any game. Mobile games also cost less than other platforms.

All refer to the vast amount of existing mobile games. Based on Statista figures, the Google Play Store has about 340,000 game apps and the Apple App Store has 410,000. We listed over 50,000 games for Xbox One, PS4, and PC (Steam, GOG, Battle.net, Epic Games, Uplay, Origin, Windows Store, Xbox Live).

And that massive games catalog for both Android and iOS is not just the really basic, easy-to-play games we always equate with gaming. There are certainly quite a number of gems there, including those that have become a cultural phenomenon (e.g. Angry Birds, Pokemon GO), adapted variants of old games (e.g. Pac-Man, Metal Slug X, Final Fantasy series), and even games that have become bona fide sports (e.g. Arena of Valor, Phones Legends: Bang Bang, PUBG Gaming).

Do what you will

If you’re the gatekeeping “real gamer” type and you’ve made it this far into the article, I only have this to say to you — do what you will. I’m not here to stop you from exercising your right to free speech. But I do hope that moving forward, you will at least have the decency to let others do what they will. If someone who just plays mobile games casually wants to call themselves a gamer, don’t rain on their parade. After all, they are by dictionary definition, a gamer.
And for anyone reading this article that likes playing games, regardless of the platform, the type of game, the time and money spent — you are a real gamer if you consider yourself to be one. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise just because of their silly illusions of what a “real gamer” is....




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